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Ethiopia, Day 5 – May 2012

29 May

It’s crazy that we are actually leaving. This week has flown by while at the same time it feels like we have had our new friends for months or even years. Our final day was definitely one to remember on many levels for our team.

This morning I got to preach at the church in Korah. This was about as incredible of a
privilege as I can imagine receiving and I really loved every minute of it. I’m sure it wasn’t as good of preaching as the church is used to but for me to get to preach the gospel at a church founded in poverty and persecution was such an amazing blessing. The worship service was beautiful, especially the time of prayer which was far more passionate than anything I’ve been around. I don’t speak the language at all but heard their word for thanks over and over again. It’s unreal being in the presence of people who, at least to our eyes, have so little and are thanking God so much. The music was also very wonderful. They sang with heart, many of the same lines over and over again. When I went up to preach my friend Engida translated for me which I really appreciated. I told our Ethiopian brothers and sisters that they will have the blessing of Engida making my words better for them while my American didn’t get that luxury. It was a real experience preaching to such an incredible audience.

I preached from Romans 6:20-23 and reinforced what was already evident in Korah, that in Christ we have greater riches than the earth could ever give us. I have to get the Student Section to get that engaged next time I teach in there. Stephen wrapped up with a benediction. He and Engida read Psalm 145 two verses at a time switching between English and Amharic. Hearing the different languages is really great. We had to leave Korah and say goodbye to the faithful elders and wonderful kids. This one girl named Edileweb was my favorite she was the sweetest girl maybe in this whole awesome country. She kept saying I was her friend. Another great kid was Ezekiel. He is Taye’s nephew and his mother led the prayer time that was so powerful.

When we got back from Korah we enjoyed a bountiful harvest of trail mix and clif bars for lunch. There were also a few Larabars consumed but to each their own. After lunch we went with our friends to the boys’ halfway home for our closing ceremony put on by Onesimus. There is no way I could adequately capture this ceremony in words but it was just the greatest fellowship you could imagine. Our hosts roasted coffee beans then crushed them and then made them into the best coffee ever. There were many hugs and songs celebrating God’s love. Our other American friends, John and Shad and their daughters were all honored and given gifts. We were really taken care of by their magnificent hospitality, as usual. These kids are just so amazing. I really encourage everyone reading our blogs that are the least bit interested to pray about visiting and seeing for yourself because it’s incredible. Desse, who has an incredible story, sang a song for us and just made all the more real and beautiful the mission of Onesimus taking neglected, seemingly useless street kids and prayerful encouraging them to be useful children of God. These kids were all so great and the staff that serves them and loves is full of the hugest hearts I’ve ever been around.

Maybe my favorite moment was saying goodbye to Fucado, one of the older boys. We hugged real tight and he told me he loved me and I told him that I loved him too and he just lit up. Fucado looked like a kid who might think he was too cool for the activities but he wasn’t that way at all he just really wanted to be loved and thanks to what God’s doing in Addis he is getting that love and is learning the love of Christ as well. Leaving the home was very hard but after a bunch of hugs we went back to the guest house.
We had chicken and rice for dinner with a meat sauce called zigawhat. It may have been the best meal Ababa made all week. After dinner we had a coffee ceremony on the third floor of the guest house and got to enjoy some great final fellowship with Nega, Taye, and Engida. After we prayed we got on the van to leave. God taught us so much this week. We’ll all be processing for quite awhile. I’m extremely thankful for all who supported me on this trip through pray and giving. I promise you were represented well and I can’t even begin to tell you how many prayers God answered this week. Our time was so sweet and while we learned a lot I think the greatest thing we learned was to never underestimate the gospel even in the lives of “worthless,” street kids! Zigawhat.

Written by Steve Kieklak

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